All 16 Robert Downey Jr. 80s Movies Ranked from Worst to Best

All 16 Robert Downey Jr. 80s Movies

Robert Downey Jr. is one of the most popular actors in the last decade, mostly thanks to his brilliant portrayal of Tony Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He started as a child actor and has some hits as a teenager but he reached his peak already as a thirty-something-year-old actor and since then he hasn’t stopped making top-grossing movies. This is the list of all his 80s movies ranked from worst to best.

16. Rented Lips (1987)

Rented Lips 1987

Directed by Robert Downey Sr, this comedy tells the story of a documentary filmmaker who has gotten tired of making the same type of movies. He decides to take a chance and make a documentary on the Indian farming he has always wished to.

But there is a catch with this one since he has to simultaneously film a porn movie. While trying to concentrate on the movie he is interested in, he will encounter many problems with the latter one, such as a temperamental actor and a fundamentalist preacher. Still, he will turn it into a musical called “Halloween In the Barracks”.

15. America (1986)

America 1986

Another independent comedy directed by Downey’s father and another not very well accepted movie, just like Rented Lips, America is the story of a crew of the New York cable television station who accidentally capture a signal from the moon.

After this unusual occurrence, they become worldwide famous and all the attention is suddenly turned to them and their work.

14. Johnny Be Good (1988)

Johnny Be Good 1988

This is a sports comedy about the extremely talented young football star, Johnny Walker who is, despite his looks the hottest young prospect. And even though Johnny really loves football, he finds himself in a situation full of second thoughts.

He will have to decide if he should take one of the numerous offers from college talent scouts since it is recruiting time or if he should completely forget about the game and go to the local state college together with his girlfriend.

13. That’s Adequate (1989)

Thats Adequate 1989

Even though this is another Downey’s not really a well-accepted movie from the 80s, it is still an interesting mocumentary about a low-budget Hollywood movie studio. We follow host Tony Randall and TV personality Joe Franklin who interview several people from the studio.

One of them is Max Roebling who most of all enjoy bringing out dirt about the people he used to work with. We are introduced to numerous clips from some of his movies that are full of cameo roles from Downey Jr to Bruce Willis.

12. Up the Academy (1980)

Up the Academy 1980

Even though uncredited, Downey Jr starred in this comedy directed by his father Robert Downey Sr. which is described as a combination of “Animal House” and “Police Academy”. We follow the adventures of four boys who are sent to the Sheldon R. Wienberg Military Academy, for various reasons.

They will have to get used to the tough military regime and discipline and only time will tell if these four geeks are going to become “real men” in one year.


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11. The Pick-Up Artist (1987)

The Pick Up Artist 1987

In this romantic comedy, Downey Jr teams up with the most famous 80s romantic movies star, Molly Ringwald. He plays Jack Jericho, an elementary school teacher in New York City who still lives with his grandmother and is known to be a good scammer.

He spends his days driving his vintage Camaro and trying to pick up women with his corny phrases and questions. Soon he will meet his equal, Randy, a woman who has a history with the mob and is in debt to them.

10. 1969 (1988)

1969 1988

This is a war drama with a brilliant casting list, including, besides Downey Jr, Winona Ryder, Kiefer Sutherland, and Bruce Dern. The movie follows Ralph and Scott, two college students who are not afraid to share their disapproval of the Vietnam War.

Scott becomes alienated from his father with all his opposing views so he decides to leave town with Ralph and enjoy their freedom. But soon everything will change when Ralph gets expelled from college and is the first to serve and Scott’s brother is declared missing in action.

9. Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1985)

Girls Just Want to Have Fun 1985

Downey Jr appears in this music comedy-drama about Janey, a new girl in town who meets Lynne, a dance enthusiast, just like Janey. They are specifically interested in the show “Dance TV”.

When their favorite show announces an audition for a new Dance TV regular couple Janey and Lynne decide to sign up, thrilled to become one of its stars. But the problem is with Janey’s father who doesn’t approve of those kinds of things.

8. Tuff Turf (1985)

Tuff Turf 1985

80s big star, James Spader plays Morgan in this interesting movie about a teenager who moves with his family from a wealthy life in Connecticut to an apartment in San Fernando Valley. Morgan has always been in the shadow of his gifted brother and has gotten into trouble numerous times at home.

As if it wasn’t enough to be the new kid in town, Morgan will soon find himself in danger when he finds himself attracted to Frankie, willing to make her his girlfriend. But Frankie is the girlfriend of the leader of a local gang who isn’t at all satisfied with Morgan and his plans. 


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7. Firstborn (1984)

Moving In Firstborn 1984

In this drama thriller, the 16-year-old Jake Livingston lives with his divorced mother and until now everything seemed to work pretty well. Jake is a down-to-earth, serious boy who takes his role as a man in their house seriously.

But everything changes when Jake’s mother meets Sam, a drug and alcohol addict whose lifestyle differs completely from theirs and who slowly starts bringing Jake’s mother down with him.

6. Baby It’s You (1983)

Baby Its You 1983

It is 1966 in New Jersey and Jill Rosen is an unsatisfied high school student who becomes attracted and intrigued by a mysterious new student known only as the Sheik. Sheik is an Italian boy interested only in his car, Frank Sinatra, and now Jill. 

They start a relationship but due to numerous circumstances, their lives take completely different paths. Jill gets accepted to an all-girls college and Sheik ends up in Florida but soon gets fed up with his life there and moves to New Jersey, with the hope to continue his relationship with Jill.

5. Chances Are (1989)

Chances Are 1989

Louie Jeffries’ life couldn’t be better. Satisfied with everything, especially his relationship with his wife Corinne, Louie seemed to have it all. But on their first anniversary, Louie gets killed in an accident crossing the road.

He gets reincarnated as Alex Finch, played by Donwey Jr and twenty years later fate brings him and Louise’s daughter, Miranda, together. It takes time for him to remember his old life, wife, and best friend and he is now facing another problem, being attracted to his own daughter. 

4. Less Than Zero (1987)

Less Than Zero 1987

This is a crime drama about Clay, an 18-year-old college freshman who returns to Los Angeles after his first term at Princeton to spend the Christmas holidays with his complicated wealthy family. 

He finds out that his former girlfriend Blair is now in a relationship with his former best friend Julian. When Blair tells him about Julian’s problems with cocaine and huge debts, Clay gets involved in many situations which brilliantly depict the problems of wealthy youth in Beverly Hills.

3. Back to School (1986)

Back to School 1986

Thornton Melon is a wealthy businessman who is faced with his son’s decision not to go to college. Extremely unsatisfied and disappointed, Thornton will try to find all the possible ways to convince his son that college is the best place for him.

Thornton has never attended one to prove his point, he accepts to enroll in school as well. He is having the time of his life, being the greatest hit in college, with his parties and gathering but is this the best way to be a role model to his son?


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2. Weird Science (1985)

Weird Science 1985

John Hughes, one of the most fruitful and famous 80s directors has gathered a stellar cast in this romantic sci-fi comedy about Gary and Wyatt, two unpopular teenagers who are constantly failing at getting accepted by their peers.

In order to change their reputation, they decide to create an artificial woman, using their computer. And this is how Lisa was born, a gorgeous woman whose role is to put them in situations where they have to behave like men.

1. True Believer (1989)

True Believer 1989

The most interesting and intriguing Robert Downey Jr’s 80s movie is this thriller drama about Eddie Dodd who, after getting tired of working as a civil rights lawyer specializes in defending drug dealers.

Roger Baron is a new graduate who has always looked up to Eddie and now wants to work with him, convincing him to take the case of a young Korean man who has spent 8 years in prison for a crime he hasn’t allegedly committed.

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